Book Review: A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen | Revenge of the Nerds, Relationship Problems, and Lattes

A Taxonomy of LoveThe moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.


"Please tell me you have lattes because if you don't, I am going to lose all hope in the universe."

3.5/5 stars

When I was a little seventh-grader, I was fascinated with books and finding the existence of dragons. Nothing has changed there, except now I am THE DRAGON, a reader, and a nerd.

See. Snape understands.

Anyway, getting away from my Harry Potter addiction, Spencer is a nerd as well and he likes Harry Potter(cause who doesn't?!) and loves to classify people into different groups. I found Spencer to be very likable as he is very intelligent, kind, and can sing "The Schuyler Sisters" at the top of his lungs like there is no tomorrow! He is also courageous, especially once he starts getting older and gains more confidence, and what really stood out was that he deals with Tourette Syndrome. I have never heard nor read of this disorder, so when I was reading about Spencer and how he deals with Tourette's, I was dancing at the thought of some more diversity in books and learning something new and sympathizing with how he would express his nervous energy through tics.

However, just because I like Spencer and want him to be happy does not make him perfect. He is very impulsive and will say things, such as rude comments or funny come-backs, that get his butt whooped. Also, he is quick to judge others and not let other characters say what they need to say, such as when Hope is trying to tell something to him that could have made this book shorter if she had the opportunity to say what she needed to say to get this frustrating couple together. I would tell what Hope was trying to say; however, it has some spoilers within the conversation and I want to make sure that you are just as frustrated with this as I am.

The other side to the this relationship is Hope Birdsong. Although she may not sing a bird's tune, she does sing along to the Hamilton soundtrack. I bet my mom and dad are shaking their heads in shame at how many times I have mentioned Hamilton, which I will tell you is so expensive for a seat in the worst section of the theater. When did life become so complicated?! Okay, so back to Hope. She is very much a dreamer as she wants to travel the world with her sister, Janie, and Spencer and is a nerd. I am so glad that there were so many smart and fandom-loving characters included in this story as I resonated with almost all the characters. As how Spencer deals with Tourette's, Hope also has to deal with a hard part of her life, which happens to be her sister's death. I thought that this would bring Spencer and Hope closer; however, it did not. Hope has to probably be on of my least love interests; however, she will never be close to Rowan from Throne of Glass series. Never will anyone be close to him. Anyway, I did not like her so much as she was so frustrating to read about since she liked Dean and Spencer. Can't you see the dilemma of a love triangle? Also, sometimes, when I would not be liking Hope so much in certain passages, I would hope for her to go away. Oh, Hope just got roasted! Though, in all seriousness, I just really found Hope to be extremely annoying and predictable in her actions when fighting with people and making decisions. However, even though I may not have enjoyed her the most, she seemed to be very fun and adventurous in the first few days of knowing her. Once she started growing up, though, is another story as she got too boy-crazy and way too troublesome.

Next, remember how I told you that Spencer and Hope are a bit geeky and nerdy? Well, if you like Hamilton: The Musical, Harry Potter, Laini Taylor, Pokémon, or fandoms in general, you will probably like this story. I cannot tell you how many times I laughed and/or snickered due to Hamilton being sung or someone is thought to be reading the latest book by Laini Taylor, which "ahem* is Strange the Dreamer if you did not already know. I felt as if Rachael Allen added her own twist on a cute contemporary romance/ friendship story by adding some of her personality and interests...unless, if she actually *gasp* hates Hamilton, *double gasp* Harry Potter, *triple gasp* Laini Taylor and *biggest gasp to allow myself to blow the biggest breath of fire I can* all the rest of the fandom discussed and mentioned. Then, I must breathe fire all over this book except I would never as I love books and this is not Fahrenheit 451.

Although I may have enjoyed the overall plot, the way it was told was very confusing and not executed very well; however, it may have just been my arc format. It definitely was an interesting format that I have never read of before in a book, jumping from present tense to letters and emails from Janie and Hope to some classifications made from Spencer; however, no matter how creative it is it was a bit confusing to follow as too much jumping around from different timelines as this story follows Spencer and Hope's lives from the ages of and between 13 to 19 and the different types of formats that tell this story.

Also, within the story, the cute contemporary romance was not the only part. There were also some deeper parts that I did not expect very much discussion of because the topics, which I will not write since they are semi-important to the story and require one's reflection, are mostly open to the public to discuss freely. I was surprised to learn a lesson or two or as many as a dozen; however, I was more happy than surprised in the end since I had gotten more coming out of the book, which only took a day to read if you will believe me! All of the moments that discuss these topics I will not name take part in little snippets so it may be hard to find, but they are very much important and stand out if one is looking.

This review, hopefully, sums up how I feel about Rachael Allen's A Taxonomy of Love, which comes out on January 9th. Also,today's January 9th so get your booties to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Book Depository(where free shipping is guaranteed for wherever you live), or any other book shopping center you visit to order this book. I may not have a good catchphrase to make a pitch; however, I hope my review entertained you or inspired you to pick up a copy.

Until next time, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy!


Have you read any of Allen's books? Do you like lattes? Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Are you a revengeful nerd looking for all the times to rant about your favorite thing, such as when I talk about books or ruling my own kingdom in which I force everyone to read? Correspond with me in the comments below or on any of my social medias.



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